Jambo Ashimwe (Praise the Lord)!

A Letter from Kay Day, serving in Rwanda

July 2018

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Dear friends and family,

Praise the Lord. I have been saying this repeatedly as I have prepared to come to the States and have been getting settled here. God has provided for me so abundantly, and I am so grateful, and I share that sense of gratitude with one of my students.

About a year ago, I preached a sermon in the English chapel about God changing our hearts and giving us new natures. My student Jean Baptiste came to me after the service and said that he wanted to change his name to reflect who he has become in Christ, not the name his parents gave him at his birth. Unlike in America, everyone in Rwanda has his or her own name. There are no family names. An infant is given a Kinyarwanda name that reflects the family’s situation at the time of the child’s birth, or the parents’ hope for the development of the character of the child, and then they add a baptismal name. Most people are known by their Kinyarwandan name. He told me the meaning of his name NTAMBABAZI — merciless. He said that he was born just after the genocide ended, and his name reflects his parents’ feelings about their situation at that time.

Jambo Ashimwe.

But God has changed Jean Baptiste’s heart and has called him to be a pastor, and he can’t face a congregation and speak of God’s grace and mercy with the name Merciless. To change his name challenges his parents, is costly and takes a great deal of time. We prayed together, and he decided to undertake the project. First, Jean Baptiste went to his parents to explain that he meant no disrespect, but his life had changed, and he wanted his name to reflect that. They agreed. Then he began the legal process. It cost about $100 just to file the paper work. After approval, he had to take notices in the national newspapers, so if there were any claims against him he would not be escaping them by changing his name, and finally he had to apply for new identification and get approval from all the levels of the government — national, regional, district and sector. As I tell this story, he has just received the final paperwork from the national level, so he can claim his new name — JAMBO ASHIMWE (Praise the Lord) Jean Baptiste. I praise the Lord with him.

My “new” car. Praise the Lord.

There are so many reasons to praise the Lord. My need for a car here in the States was graciously met by a clergy couple, friends of mine who offered me their second car, serviced it, and are covering the insurance for these three months. I am overwhelmed. Every Sunday of this trip is filled with opportunities in supporting churches, and many weekdays are spoken for to meet individuals and small groups. I have two “homes” this trip, one on the east side of Pittsburgh and the other on the west, to make travel easier for me. What generosity! I am humbled by all the care offered to me. Praise the Lord. Just the opportunity to serve in Rwanda is a blessing from God. I am looking forward to seeing many of you in the next three months. I am so grateful for all of you who support me financially and with prayers. I could not be serving in Rwanda were it not for you. I still have some open days, if anyone is interested in a weekday time. Please contact me.

My prayer for you is that you have many things for which to praise the Lord, too. Our God is so good and provides so abundantly for each of us, more so than we even realize. I hope you will take time with me this summer to praise the Lord for all that he has done and is doing.

Jambo Ashimwe,

Kay (Cathie to the family)


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